What’s Eating Our Reality
Set in an imagined future, What’s Eating Our Reality is a three course meal with a difference. This intimate show explores the journey our food has taken from seed to field to table, illuminating issues of food justice. Host Maya Chowdhry orchestrates the ritual of dining and uses media art to gently immerse the audience in a new reality, one in which the food they love may be in short supply.
“A new setting which overlaps with the everyday, and the connection of art and food as a creative experience.” audience, Nuffield Theatre
Presented at The Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster, Dec 2018. Commissioned by Lancaster Arts through Diverse Actions. Supported by Eclipse through the Slate Play Pot 2018. Additional funding from Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust.
Peas on Earth
‘Peas on Earth’ is a table-top of interactive theatre that gently augments our reality to allow us to experience the politics of eating, growing and sustaining ourselves. The piece questions our right to air, water, soil, sun and ultimately food.
Using the humble pea as a symbol of our relationship to food, a portion of poetry, divination cards and a pair of gardening gloves ‘Peas on Earth’ uses chance and luck to allow the audience agency to question their access to the resources needed to grow food.
Through the layers of poetry juxtapositioned with digital images and the artefacts on the tables the audience is situated in a place where they might have little water, soil or seeds — hopefully resulting in an empathetic experience where they might consider what it might be like to be denied access to food.
The experience uses Zappar, a free augmented reality app on the audience’s own smartphone to deliver the audio content and visual imagery that augments the experience and enables audiences to curate their own experience.
Work-in-development presented as part of Emergency Festival, Z Arts, 2016
Gallery of images from the R&D
A digital literature Installation by Maya Chowdhry and Kooj Chuhan.
Heritage Carrot is a site-specific augmented reality poem designed for installation at Hulme Community Garden Centre. An open suitcase greets you, in its lid is a view of the garden centre.
By using your own smart-phone combined with a free app, HP Reveal, you experience an audio-visual journey resonating with the migration of carrots from Persia to England, hinting at other migrations – human, plants and other. From industrial suburbia through countryside the journey is imbued with magic realism.
We explore heritage, genetics and biodiversity — carrot domestication from a wild plant, the migration from wisdom to neoliberalism. The suitcase bottom is filled with sand, specimen jars, coloured soils and spices, suggesting the problems of land-based categorisation for both humans and seeds.
Commissioned by and presented as part of The Black Writers Conference, Commonword, 2018
Hayling Island: Stories at Sea Level
I was digital artist for ACE funded project ‘Hayling Island’ using short stories, spoken word, audio soundscapes, and visual art to create an evolving online map of the island. A work-in-development of this work toured, including Durham Book Festival, in 2017.
A PLACE AT THE TABLE
A collaboration with B Arts to produce an immersive theatre piece exploring food and democracy.
Do book a table as the evening sitting begins at 7:30pm sharp. Dinner is just a little later. Yes, this is a restaurant like no other. You’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get involved. You could be doing anything from chopping the veg to making the bread for dinner. Tonight, we all have to earn our place at the table.
Join us for an experience that mixes music, food and storytelling to ask just who deserves a place at the table, what’s that on their plate, and where on earth has it come from.
Further information and images of the performances – A Place at the Table
In collaboration with poet and artist Sarah Hymas, presenting works exploring the fragility of life by examining the impact of climate change on the Indian subcontinent. The Installation consists of three interactive poetic sculptures that use augmented reality to illuminate anthropogenic climate change.The audience experiences the augmented reality via their smart device using a free app – Zappar. Click on the Zappar icon to download the app and try it out!
Exhibited as part of Gaywise Festival 2015, a visual arts exhibition at the Menier Gallery, London.
More information on the Ripple page
TALES FROM THE TOWPATH
An immersive work for Manchester Literature Festival 2014. This Transmedia production features a location based storytrail, micro-projection, origami narrowboat and a live performance on a traditional narrowboat.
Explore hidden, lost and imagined lives of Manchester with a story that runs across rivers Irwell and Medlock, the Rochdale and Bridgewater canals, linking them to iconic Manchester venues – The Royal Exchange and Midland Hotel.
New mythologies are created and, whether you believe them or not, thrive. Lives intersect like flotsam, like the past that washes up again and again. Two futures are possible: where water is at risk and the world turns upside down, or one where nature proves her power.
“I loved the interwoven voices of the story from performers, from the audience and from the participants of the trail. Please, more of this fantastic project from beginning to end: trail, performance, and the workshops. Very complete!”
“My favourite moment of the performance was the combo of darkness and motion of the boat gently rocking to immerse you into the story further.”
“I enjoyed it all. The origami boat was a good teaser for things to come. The guided tour was great because I needed some help with the technology, and the guide was very clear and made it all very easy to use. The story trail was great fun. Reading the stories made the locations come alive. It was really imaginative and a very successful example of site-specific writing.”
“I enjoyed hunting for the different parts of the story. It was exciting when you found the next bit and it took me to places in Manchester that I hadn’t been to before.”
Commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival, funded by Arts Council England and shortlisted for The New Media Writing Prize, 2014.
A collaboration with Michele Green, Sarah Hymas and Helen Varley Jamieson.
Project Website: talesfromthetowpath.net
ETHICAL PEOPLE MOVEMENT
A transmedia story produced as part of ‘Continent Chop Chop’ by Virtual Migrants, a story told through poetry, music and digital-media connecting legacies of inequality to climate change.
Christopher Wilder launches an appeal for Ethical People Movement (EPM), an organisation that has sponsored Virtual Migrants in a funding crisis.
Or did they?
Using invisible theatre, and conveying the story of EPM across web, twitter, youtube and bandcamp, this story explores ‘white-saviour complex’ and asks the audience to look beyond the issues into their complex connectivity.
What if the world was 100% water, how would we grow food? What would we eat? How would we survive? To find out I grew a leftover garden using only water and with scraps of vegetables from the compost bin of the Eighth Day Cafe and plastic water bottles I rescued from the bin store of Piccadilly Place. Leftover Garden, an immersive Installation, part of 3 days without water presented by The Life Friendly Collective, at 3 Piccadilly Place.
More information and gallery here
WATER IS PRICELESS
An interactive Installation examining the role of water in our lives, and the impending water scarcity that will affect parts of our planet in the near future. A hydroponic herb garden, made from upcycled water bottles, triggers animations which tell stories of water, what we have, how we use it, whilst a barcode scanner triggers a webcam that captures the audience’s image and refracts it into a mosaic of hundreds of images of water. Exhibited as part of PUSH at Contact Theatre
A B Arts commission to write an interactive story experience for 9-13 year olds, in collaboration with Helen Varley Jamieson (digital media artist), Ruby Soho (designer) and Susan Clarke (artistic director). I worked with young people in Stoke-on-Trent to produce an immersive story experience to tour libraries and arts centres 2014-2017 with the aim of encouraging young people to continue their lifelong reading journey.